Sep 29, 2017

The double life of the asterisk sign

A small glyph with lots of functions
An article in Time magazine entitled The History of #—and 6 Other Symbols that Rule Twitter and the Web (published 4 years ago, but which I came across this year) talks about how various little known or underused punctuation symbols have gained more prominence after being adopted in computing and, more recently, on the social media. We learn that the at sign, @, was given a new lease of life in 1971 thanks to the creation of email, and the hash/pound sign, #, the formal name of which is octothorpe, was rehabilitated thanks to Twitter.

Sep 1, 2017

Four 'back-to-school' activities


Going back to school: some ideas for your first lesson(s)  

It’s September, the time when many are heading back to school (in the Northern Hemisphere). I thought it would be a good time to share some lexical (and lexico-grammatical) activities to start the year.

May 28, 2017

Powerful tea and other (im)possible collocations

Photo by Christina Martidou
via ELTpics on Flickr
How do you explain the notion of collocation to your students? Apart from using this great song, I often employ this simple technique: I write on the board: make and do (in the left column), homework and a mistake (in the right) and ask students to match.

Feb 27, 2017

Trendy terms, tantalizing techniques and talented teachers in Thessaloniki

A report from the 24th TESOL Macedonia-Thrace convention, which took place in Thessaloniki on 11-12 February



Earlier this month I had the pleasure to attend and the honour to present, for the first time, at the TESOL Macedonia-Thrace international convention in Thessaloniki. While the best thing about the conference - like with most ELT conferences lately - was catching up with teachers from my PLN, making new friends and connecting with professionals from all over Europe, here are highlights from some of the sessions I attended.

Jan 6, 2017

News quiz 2016 - Follow up

Photo by iphonedigital via Flickr 
flic.kr/p/J6zv2j [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Activities for reviewing the language from News Quiz 2016

Like in previous years, here's the follow-up to last week's news quiz: 13 pages of practice activities and exercises aimed at reviewing and consolidating lexis from the quiz (in 2 levels).

I hope you and students enjoy them as much as you enjoyed the quiz. If you still haven't seen this quiz, it's not to late - click HERE.

Update: Vocabulary from the quiz on Quizlet: https://quizlet.com/leosel/folders/news-quiz-2016

Dec 26, 2016

News quiz 2016

Photos by Chatham House [CC BY 2.0], 
Marie Lan-Nguyen [CC BY 2.0], 
wowser [CC BY-BC 2.0] on Flickr
There has been an unusually high number of celebrity deaths this year - so many that I could have built the whole quiz around it! Anyhow, here's my end-of-year offering in its traditional format, focusing on some key news stories of 2016. Like last year, I've tried to keep it light-hearted as much as possible. Politics is still there, but it's fairly evenly balanced by sports, travel and technology news.

Dec 10, 2016

One is better than none

One of my students showed her vocabulary (and grammar) notebook to her private tutor, who was surprised at the way new vocabulary was recorded in it. The student then conveyed the tutor's concerns to me, for example, that "pack in" doesn't have to go necessarily with the job (I'd taught the group "she's packed in her job"). She said, "it means 'finish' or 'give up'". I agreed. But where does it get you? If "pack in" can be substituted for "finish" or one of the other alleged synonyms (alleged because no two or more words are ever absolute synonyms - see HERE), can we say "I've packed in my homework"?

Oct 11, 2016

When we were young

Based on Adele's song from her third album 25, this activity can be used with Intermediate level and up. The main focus is listening to chunks, followed by discussion of the song and reviewing the use of like/as.





Jul 24, 2016

Does the chunk argument trump the plagiarism allegations?

Photo by Marc Nozell via Flickr
One of the hottest news this week has been Melania Trumps’ allegedly plagiarized speech. Why allegedly? Because although Donald Trump’s wife address at the 2016 Republican Convention bears marked similarities to Michele Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention, there is not much in it that would effectively constitute stealing in the linguistic sense.

Jul 12, 2016

The L in ELT


A report from the International ETAI Conference "Engage Enhance Energize" which took place in Ashkelon, Israel, between 4 and 6 July 2016



When Naomi Epstein asked everyone who was planning to attend and present at ETAI 2014 Summer conference to sum up their teaching career and life in seven words, I wrote “Let’s put the L back in ELT” as my 7-word bio. Nobody seemed to mind or make a big deal. This is unlike LexicalLab's similar-sounding strap-line "Putting the Language back into Language Teaching" which has drawn criticism from some who found it arrogant and insulting.
 

May 14, 2016

Those who can't

I'm a ________ (1) teacher of English (what has recently become a bad word has been blanked out as to not offend anyone). As readers may have gathered from the content of this blog, I love language. I’m also a language learner. I’ve spent all my teaching and training career improving my knowledge of English and honing my understanding of how it works. Especially since I started teaching more lexically, I’ve been paying more attention to how words combine into patterns and how vocabulary interacts with grammar to create meaning.

Feb 20, 2016

Criticism of the Lexical Approach

"All chunks and no pineapple?"
Image by Andrew Malone via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Writing an essay or working on a paper on the Lexical Approach and looking to include some sources that criticise it to make your writing balanced? I've collated a list of relevant articles here.